Woman recovering after being mauled by cougar northeast of Fall City

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A cyclist is now out of the hospital and recovering, after being mauled by a cougar northeast of Fall City.

Fish and Wildlife officers say this kind of encounter is rare for the area, but residents say the cougars are common.

On Saturday, a group of five bicyclists was attacked by a cougar near Fall City. One woman suffered serious injuries to her face, neck and jaw.

“They’re very cautious. And they’re usually staying hidden,” said Paul, who lives in a cabin just a few miles from the attack.

Paul described the mountain lions as quiet and calculated. He told KIRO 7 he had recently caught two of them around his cabin over the last few months.

“In the middle of the afternoon one day, they were they were killing a baby elk. And we could hear him from our property. That was that was a little unnerving.”

The cougar involved in Saturday’s attack was shot and killed by a Fish and Wildlife officer. Cyclists reported seeing two of them, but the other mountain lion was never found.

There’s no telling if these are the same ones that Paul had seen in the past, but he believes that awareness comes with being in their territory.

“This is their area. This is where they live, it’s their wilderness. And unfortunately, we keep treading on their area,” he explained.

Fish and Wildlife police say attacks like this aren’t all too common in this area.

A similar attack in happened in 2018, when a bicyclist was killed and another was injured by a mountain lion along the foothills of north bend.

In these situations, Paul reiterated that preparedness is key.

“It was bicyclists weren’t prepared. They were way far in the wilderness. They were 20 miles from here,” Paul added. “You got to be prepared for the wilderness. You don’t go camping and don’t take a tent.”

Mountain lions can be found throughout Washington state, Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say, where suitable cover and prey are.

Officials with the Department of Fish and Wildlife offer this advice to anyone who encounters a cougar in the wild:

  • Stop, stand tall and don’t run. Pick up small children. Don’t run. A cougar’s instinct is to chase.
  • Do not approach the animal, especially if it is near a kill or with kittens.
  • Try to appear larger than the cougar. Never take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. Do not crouch down or try to hide.
  • If the animal displays aggressive behavior, shout, wave your arms and throw rocks. The idea is to convince the cougar that you are not prey, but a potential danger.
  • If the cougar attacks, fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet. Cougars have been driven away by people who have fought back.